Barriers to the accessibility of the net are lowering, if not disappearing. More users, more data. *shrug* No biggie.
Humans want access to info while the computers are to organize it. Visibility of a site is that area in between, the translation moment. “Visi-Web Consultants” (I hate the stigma of the term “SEO” – so, I’m trying a couple new phrases) take the criteria of a search engine (as best can be discerned) and, functioning under that construct, develop policies and procedures to ensure that a site will be indexed by the SEs, generating high ranking in relevant organic search terms.
Because the net will forever be developing, Web Visibility Consulting (WVC) will always evolve. As search engines implement new algorithms and developers create new functionality, someone has to maintain the middle ground of translation between the two – the human element.
Recently, sitting across from a programmer, I was explaining the idea of ‘nofollow’ tags and how their use is not, necessarily, a direct result of ‘hoarding page rank,’ but more in-line with giving crawlers a definitive path to follow. He didn’t entirely grasp what I was trying to say, referring to my work as ‘snake-oil.’ I have to say, if I’d called his work ‘snake-oil’ I think he would have a clear understanding of how I felt when that’s what he called my work. WVCs don’t randomly make suggestions. We analyze a page and it’s competition and make recommendations based on that analysis. Just because we manage to weigh and consider many different factors and seem to only propose a relatively smaller set of recommendations doesn’t mean that a lot of work didn’t go into the end result. Furthermore, some changes have to happen sequentially for maximum impact. Really, when I sit back and take a ‘big picture’ look, I can see why this twenty-something with ‘qualitatively assessable skills’ would call my work ‘snake-oil.’ But, doesn’t that make it my responsibility to help establish a more favorable view of a stigmatized career niche? Yes. Yes, it does.
So, in establishing this renewed opinion, it is first and foremost of the utmost importance to illustrate that SEs have created a need that can’t be ignored: Websites will always want to be found. A WVC that is current on SE trends and topics; and proficient in the use of the myriad of tools available, will be able to help you acheive that. It’s our livlihood that depends on it. And, as it seems to me, recent news is validating this need: What if the Chicago Tribune had enlisted the services of a WVC? What if that WVC had recommended <meta> expires headers (which, to mention, should be on all news pages, acorss the web) or had implemented ‘nofollow’ for the ‘most active stories’ link? Quite a few people would have saved a few bucks, only if a WVC had been involved in the Tibunes’ site design before it became ‘breaking news.’ (And why are people upset with Google for this, anyway? The Tribune’s site is the source of the info – why/how is that Google’s responsibility?)
On a quick note: The World Wide Web Foundation promises to be a far reaching, influential entity. I’m curious to ponder what other standardizations, if any, may arise… I feel that there are a few elements of SEO that lend themselves to ‘extending the Web’s benefits to all people on the planet,” so this is a development to keep tabs on, IMHO.